Matthew Gurewitsch's article on La Bayadere in the NY Times
Posted 04 August 2002 - 06:56 PM
There'sa a lot to discuss here. Gurewitsch makes the provocative claim that Bayadere is now the quintessential emblem of classical ballet because it has survived for the most part unaltered - others have claimed Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, but Bayadere is still "ours alone".
What do others think?
Posted 04 August 2002 - 08:47 PM
Posted 05 August 2002 - 04:48 AM
Posted 05 August 2002 - 07:19 AM
Whether Bayadere's time has come is a separate question, I think, from whether it's THE classical ballet. I thnk it's a huge, wonderful mess -- and I'm all for going back to the originally messy version and not Makarova's manicured sandwich version. (Sandwich because the white act is in the middle, just like all the other ballets.)
It seems that Petipa's version had a first act that was nearly all pantomime, a second that was a variety show with character and off-pointe dancing, a long dream sequence with what we now think of as pure classical dancing (how did THEY think of it?) and then a last act that had all the elements.
I think that tells us something about Petipa. I'm not sure what, exactly, but I'm still working out how he worked. How could someone create a Greek tragedy, the Ed Sullivan show, and symphonic classicism, and knit it together to make a coherent dramatic whole?
Posted 05 August 2002 - 08:48 AM
Maybe it's the feminist in me that resents it some, but there's not enough dancing and it's a weak story, IMO. And the music isn't exactly the greatest.
I'd vote for Swan Lake or La Fille Mal Gardee
Posted 06 August 2002 - 06:52 AM
'Bayadere' will never knock 'Swan Lake' off its pedestal---the opening strings of the orchestra are enough to send chills up my spine in anticipation of what I am a bout to see.
Posted 06 August 2002 - 08:32 AM
For me, it falls into the categories so well spelt out in Croce's essay about ballets that are beloved, but flawed, vs. masterpieces that we admire and enjoy, but don't love. La Bayadere falls into the second category, for me for a few reasons. 1) I don't really like any of the characters. Or rather, I don't sympathize for them. The Rajah, Gamzatti and the High Priest are, for the most part, loathesome people. Solor has always come off pretty empty me, and becomes unlikeable when he turns his back on a dying Nikya. She does not effect me as the other ballet heroines do (Odette, Giselle or Sleeping Beauty) and is very cold. 2) While the Shades scene is always very beautiful, the corps lacks a character. They aren't vengeful as the Willis or sorrowful like the swans. Yet, I don't know if they mean to be "background" or a sort of a muliple relection of the ballerina as the corps is in the white acts of Don Q or Le Corsaire.
3) As we've talked about elsewhere on the board, the music is not considered great. Personally, I find some of it very beautiful and the score certainly fits the bill and does its service for the ballet. 4) And the ballet, as Gurewitsch mentions, does have aspects of all theater in it, I believe the Sleeping Beauty (as I saw it in the old/new Kirov version) combines all those factors (mime, design, music, dance, pomp) much better.
Posted 06 August 2002 - 09:10 AM
Even though I'm yet to see a perfect cast to my taste, It's probably one of dearest older ballets to me (along with Giselle). Yes it's very old fashioned, and it's plot can come across as corny story from soap opera. Also, of course, in many respects it's not as perfected as let's say Sleeping beauty or Swan Lake, (music is simplistic, storyline is maybe less coherent , there is lack of stylistic unison), but all these ballets are not quite representing the same period in art history.
To me some imperfections generally can be very interesting and add quality actually. That's not only because in contrast with them all brilliant details shine even more. (I'll give an example from visual arts, even though I know it is not possible to compare painting of early and high renaissance. To me, paintings of i.e.. Masaccio and De la Francesca, at the same time naive in some respects (perspective, realism) and ingenious and very modern in others (composition, coloring and atmosphere) were always dearer and more refreshing than perfection of ones by i.e.. Raphael or Michelangelo. Of course- that's just my personal taste ).
To me, besides beautiful dancing, there is also heart in La Bayadere. There are lot's of nuances to characters (High Brahmin, Gamzatti and even Solor could be very interesting - if acted and danced well we can feel sympathetic to them, or at least understand their actions, like some characters from Henry James's novels).
I enjoy all versions that I saw so far (old Kirov and Macarova's only on tape), and despite all flaws, any version of La Bayadere will at least have one member of the audience
Posted 06 August 2002 - 09:18 AM
"For me, it falls into the categories so well spelt out in Croce's essay about ballets that are beloved, but flawed, vs. masterpieces that we admire and enjoy, but don't love. La Bayadere falls into the second category, for me for a few reasons"
I didn't see your post when I was writing mine, Dale, and it looks like we did have similar thread of thought. Intresting to me is (as you can see from my post above) that La Bayadere would be in first Croce's category, according to how I feel.
Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:24 AM
Posted 04 September 2002 - 11:08 AM
"Many people today might have the same reaction to a reconstructured Swan Lake as they have to the new-old Bayadere"
I really don't mean to be flippant, but this could happen only if they are tone-deaf.
Posted 04 September 2002 - 11:24 AM
I grew up with two Swan Lakes -- the old Royal Ballet production and the David Blair production for ABT (which was a pared down version of that old Royal Ballet production). Much of those productions were said to be based on the Stepanov notations -- but so much had been changed. The Ashton additions , all of which I adore -- especially the now tossed out first act waltz -- the danse de coupes was De Valois's, the character dances were restaged. Yes, it was the old, traditional version
Posted 05 September 2002 - 05:53 AM
Posted 05 September 2002 - 03:53 PM
Posted 06 January 2005 - 10:11 PM
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